Custom Mesh Grille Insert For The (2010 – 2013) 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner – Install & Review
I’ve always wanted a TRD-style mesh grille on my OG 5th Gen 4Runner to replace the boring factory one. Well, options for the 2010-2013 4Runner are limited and I never had the money to buy a pre-made custom grille. As good as they looked, they were always well outside my budget.
Then, I came across a more budget-friendly DIY version from Custom Car Grilles. This is a direct-fit replacement for the factory grille in the 2010-213 model years with minor trim work and fabrication.
Find It Online:
- Custom Mesh Grille Insert (2010-2013) 5th Gen 4Runner: Check Price
When I opened the box, the mesh grille was packaged well and plenty protected. It is made of aluminum that had been painted in a high gloss black. The spacing on this insert was a 10 x 20 mm Rhombic pattern. This product is also made in the USA, which I thought was a great bonus.
Tools & Materials Needed For Installation:
- Small Hacksaw/ Hacksaw Blade
- Spray Paint (optional)
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Philips Screwdriver
- Painters Tape
- Cardboard or Blanket
- x2 1″ Stainless Screws
- x12 4″ Small Black Zip Ties
- 10mm Socket or wrench
Step 1. Disassemble Grille
The first step is removing the grille. That posed its own problems as everything I read and watched said I needed to remove the entire front bumper clip. I was sure there had to be another way to do this.
I came across an article that described how to remove the grille without removing the entire bumper clip with just a flathead screwdriver. Surprisingly enough, they were right and I was able to remove the grille with just a little convincing and wiggling.
To do this, there are four push pins (circled in yellow in the above image) and six locking tabs on the back of the grille (circled in red). I used a small flathead screwdriver to release the pushpins and a larger flathead to release the tabs. Start on one side and work your way down to the other end slowly prying on the tabs with the flat head screwdriver. Try not to over torque the plastic as you risk breaking them.
Once they’re all popped out, you’re ready for the next step.
Step 2. Cutting and Prepping the OEM Grille
First, remove the Toyota emblem from the center of the grille, simply by unclipping it. Next, remove the Phillips head screws from the chrome cover in the middle of the grille, and then remove all the other Phillip head screws around the edge of the grille.
The screws around the edge will remove the painted trim portion around the grille. Take extra care with this step as you don’t want to drop or scratch the painted face of your grille. At this point, I would place this on a soft blanket or towel and set it out of the way.
Once everything was removed, the directions said to use a hand saw with a hacksaw blade to cut around the inside edge of the grille, making sure NOT to cut all the way through the edges. I tried that for the first couple of diamond sections, but that took entirely too long. So, I grabbed my Fein tool (multi-tool) with a fine-toothed metal cutting blade and that made quick work of removing the bulk of the inside material.
Next, take time to sand down the remainder of the plastic and get it as smooth as possible for the best look. Once it’s sanded down, cleaned, and prepped, take some gloss black spray paint and paint the cut and sanded areas. Once painted, you barely notice the cut marks.
Step 3. Adding Mesh & Reassembly
The instruction video stated that I was to just lay the mesh on top of the piece that we just cut and sanded. It also stated to make sure the mesh is pushed up as far as it will go towards the top of the grille. At the same time, you will need to sandwich it between the cut piece and the painted portion of the grille.
I had trouble trying to get it to stay in place while I reattached the painted portion. I think some sticky back tape or glue would have helped to hold it in place. After a few minutes of manipulating and maneuvering the mesh into place, I got it to line up and stay put.
At first, I tightened the Phillips head screws back down way too tight, causing the mesh to warp and not lay flat. Once I backed them off a bit, the mesh laid flat. The main takeaway here is to NOT overtighten the Phillips head screws on the back of the grille when reassembling.
I wasn’t impressed with how there was nothing really holding the mesh at the bottom. So, I added about x12 small 4″ black zip ties to secure the bottom of the mesh to the remainder of the grille plastic. After that, you will need two new 1 1/2″ Phillips head screws that will reattach the mounting bracket to the back of the grille as the factory Phillips head screws will be too short.
At this point, you can add any custom badges or lettering to the grille such as a TRD badge or an old-school “TOYOTA” lettering.
Step 4. Reinstall Grille
Finally, reinstall your grille by lining up the tabs located on the back of the grille and on the top of the bumper. Make sure to line these up before applying any pressure. Then, apply pressure and you will hear them click into place.
Next, reinstall the four push pins that will secure the grille to the front bumper clip. After the tabs and pins are secured, install the 10mm bolt that secures the grille to the hood latch assembly. That’s it, you’re done!
Overall, for the price and ease of installation, I would recommend this custom mesh grille. This is great for the budget-minded individual or the DIY person that wants a more custom look for their OG 5th Gen.
Do you have an aftermarket or custom grille on your OG 5th 4Runner? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!